Breed and name
Many pigeon fanciers are unbelievable when it comes to breed and names.
The Janssen mania is one that has stood the test of time for long, that is a fact, but periodically newcomers will turn up; sometimes fanciers who had never been heard of before, and suddenly everyone wants their pigeons.
A typical scenario is the following:
The previously unknown fancier, let me call him X, starts to achieve tremendous results. Astute fanciers are very quick to buy pigeons from him and sometimes they do well with them.
Others get to know of this and later on, because more often than not they are behind with the facts, the journalists will find their way to X.
Some will write about X because he deserves it, others in the hope that they will get free youngsters "from the breed" in exchange for publicity.
And if such an "up and coming man" maintains his position for a few years, the commercial lofts start taking an interest. Because names that are sought-after in the market belong in their lofts, on their pedigrees and in their catalogues; especially when they are new names.
Yet it is not very often that such a "new name" stays at the top, and for these fallen stars the fall from grace is painful.
At first only the fanciers close by notice that "the new champion" is going up and later it becomes more generally known.
Such a coming man was D.
He had a wonder pigeon, I bought four sisters of this pigeon for a small price, one of them was a good one, so mission accomplished.
Slowly though, D became more known, and as usual, the prices of his pigeons went up.
Later again he became known in other countries, and the prices went up even more.
Another example is H C who was very successful at the start of this century.
A Chinese friend of mine was one of the first to buy pigeons from him, for 100 Euros each.
H C kept on achieving good results, and just four years later his pigeons cost four times as much, later still he sold a round of youngsters in Germany that brought almost 800 Euros on average and finally he auctioned his birds for 8,000 euro average.
Back to D.
Am I satisfied with "only" one good pigeon from four?
Very satisfied indeed.
My view on the pigeon sport is this:
The "champion" has to produce 40 young to give you one super; the super champion only has to produce 20 young to give one super.
These are just random figures of course and I even think that they are too favourable. To be honest, do you know someone with 10 really super pigeons?
Do you know people that breed 100 or more youngsters every year?
I know lots.
Breeding 100 youngsters in a year is 400 in 4 years (!), so the sums are easily done.
Fanciers who feel that that I am wrong and say that they can do better, may respond directly to me.
But please with a note stating the number of youngsters that they ring every year and the results of the 11th best pigeon.
Take it from me that even the few very good pigeons that they have are the remains of a great many youngsters.
A pigeon isn"t necessarily a good one because it"s bred by a great champion from his best birds.
At a forum, someone once asked me what I thought of a cross between Koopman and Vandenabeele.
Questions like these speak of a naivety that is endearing.
I sometimes get questions by mail from abroad asking what my opinion is of a cross between Wegge and Meulemans, or something similar.
With some difficulty I manage to give them a polite answer, but questions more stupid than that you won"t find in the pigeon sport.
But sadly, the desire for name and breed goes so deep with many that it will never be eliminated.
You know what I could probably understand a little bit?
If fanciers would be guided by the names of PIGEONS instead of fanciers.
As I did when I bought those four pigeons from D.
Then at least you have more of a chance; certainty is something that nobody can give you.
I have known many really good pigeons.
But "really good ones" with a handful of equally good brothers or sisters, never.
When you want to strengthen your breed, let yourself be guided by results, not by names.
After all, it"s not always the fanciers with the best known names who have the best results, or who have the best pigeons.
Pay attention to the number of pigeons they enter in a race, the prize percentage, how their pigeons achieve for other fanciers and especially ... the strength of the competition!
First prizes and results in general have only meaning for me when I know where and against whom they have been won.
Don"t form an opinion based on just one race or not even one year.
A long time ago, in 1988 to be precise, I was praised because I had "achieved so well again " from National Orleans.
I was flattered of course, when you have three pigeons in the first 13 "National" that seems good indeed, but the reality was different.
I had seldom done so badly from Orleans!
Those leading pigeons came for me helped by a favourable wind, and if I would have entered "only" 10 pigeons (I mean the 10 first nominated) I would have won just one prize. And a late one at that.
Obviously, I too would rather have youngsters from a champion pigeon or from a champion fancier. And I too am interested in pedigrees.
But once again, no pigeon, no loft and no pedigree can give you certainty; that"s why I can"t understand those people who pay crazy prizes for a bunch of feathers of four weeks old.
I was lucky with that good one from D, but ... I had shortened the odds a bit by buying FOUR youngsters.
And to my luck I was one of the first there.
Can you blame the champions for asking such high prices?
You could just as easily blame the buyers because they pay so much money!
THEY are the ones setting the price!